Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snowy Burdens: Ease Your Roof's Pain

Here in the northeast, no one is oblivious to the dangers of snow. However, usually the first thing to pop into mind when someone mentions such danger is the road conditions. Today as temperatures climb above freezing and snow hazards are temporarily out of our minds, we here at Northeast Landscape Contractors, Inc. would like to remind you of another hazard of winter weather: snow and ice build-up on your roof. 

Snow has weight, and roofs are only designed to support so much. Snow can also absorb water when it rains, increasing its weight significantly. Recently built residential roofs are designed to take up 40 lbs. per square foot, older roofs are designed to support less, but how much snow equates to this weight depends on how wet the snow is. It's a good idea after any heavy snowfall to remove as much of the snow as possible. Even if it doesn't exceed the weight the roof can support, water from melting snow can often work its way into cracks in the roof causing water damage. These issues become amplified with flat roofs (less than 3% grade) as even when the snow is melting, the water has nowhere to go but down to your roof. For most residential properties, clearing snow from the roof is a matter of having the proper equipment: a snow rake. There is however, only so much you can hope to remove, from the ground, with a roof rake so for particularly steep or high roofs, safety may be better served by hiring a professional.

For commercial properties, snow removal from the roof is particularly important given the liability issues. If the roof were to collapse, the property owner may be liable for injuries sustained by customers, tenants or employees. However, simply sending an employee up to shovel off the roof can also lead to liability issues – unless it can be assumed to be part of the employees’ regular duties and job description, you will be liable for any injuries sustained by the employee and your insurance will likely be unwilling to cover you. To avoid damage to your business, your profits, your tenants, and your employees, contacting a professional is your best bet.

If you are a property/facilities owner or manager in the Merrimack Valley area you can count on Northeast Landscape Contractors to safely clear your snow burdened roofs. Our management team has a combined 45 years in the snow & ice industry. By choosing NLC as your snow professional, you are partnering with a team committed to safety and service excellence. By working with NLC, we can help you set the standard of safety for your facility, and give you the peace of mind that your clients, tenants and/or patrons deserve! Call 978-794-1010 or visit us at for more information.

However you may choose to remove snow from your roof, please be sure to consider the dangers and always proceed with caution. Stay warm and be safe in the winter months.